Telltale Games makes smart games. Involving, emotional, clever narrative experiences like The Walking Dead or Game Of Thrones. So, given that the grassy endless world builder has no plot to speak of, the episodic Minecraft: Story Mode is particularly intriguing. You'd think most of all to the passionate global fans of the game who can create things that you can't even imagine. Working computers? No problem.
Yet, as was made clear by last weekend's panel at Minecon, it looks like Minecraft fans will be the hardest to convince that this is the way to go. Why shouldn't they be able to do what they want? It's Minecraft, isn't it? Saturday's Minecon panel was chaired by Mojang chief word officer Owen Hill, Minecraft brand director Lydia Winters, and Telltale's Job Stauffer and Laura Perusco. With half of the panel dedicated to questions, the crew had their work cut out for them and while there were those who'd played a Telltale game before, the questions below suggest that the average Minecraft fan doesn't know what's coming.
In the original Minecraft we have texture packs and resource packs. Will we see this in the Telltale Minecraft as well?
JS: Texture packs? I would say no not necessarily. It’s really about playing the story about these characters in order to write the character of Jesse and write the character of Petra. That’s not typically something we do in our game but it’ll definitely continue in the core Minecraft game.
Will there be any item gathering or crafting in the game and if you don’t craft something then you’ll have problems further on in the game?
JS: Yes, it happens more in a Telltale way which is a little different but I promise you’ll understand it once you play it. But yeah, as Jesse, you’re going to have to build a sword and you’re going to have to get your flint and steel together and ignite some portals. You’re going to be using items but you use them as part of the story. But I promise it’ll make sense once you play it.
Will it be quite CPU intensive or will it just be the same as Minecraft?
JS: CPU intensive? No. Specs should be pretty low and pretty facilitating for a lot of different machines. This game that you’re going to play on your PS4, you’ll be able to play on your iPad and Android. Our games, just like Minecraft are able to work on a lot of different devices.
Is the player interface and switching items going to be the same as Minecraft and will the game be in third person?
JS: Yes it’s in third person, there’s no first person mode. It’s a lot like kind of controlling a character in a TV show. It’s the best way I can explain it. The menus won’t be exactly like the way you use the interface in Minecraft but it’ll have that kind of look and feel. It’s just kind of done in a Telltale way.
Will you be able to interact with the world like in Minecraft?
LW: It’ll be different because this way you’re kind of following a line more than in Minecraft where you can just go and explore and do anything you want. Because it’s story driven you’re kind of hitting these points. But there are times within that where you are able to explore a little more.
OH: The rules; let’s say how many taps it takes to crack a block or something, it’ll do that very much like it does in Minecraft. If you see some dynamite you can probably work out if you throw that dynamite you can probably see how much it would explodes in this game because of your knowledge of Minecraft. So close but you won’t be mining and stuff, doing the same kind of tasks.
Do you think you think you can put your own skin on top of the main character?
JS: No. No custom skins right now. We’re really kind of like a cartoon or a TV show, a Pixar movie. We’re very particular about making sure characters look a certain way so we kind of want them to look kind of how they look. Nothing custom.
Is there going to be a skill tree and crafting speed or points to increase speed or agility?
OH: It won’t work like it does in Minecraft but there’s probably some elements of player progression there. You’ll feel the characters developing but it might not feel exactly the same way it does in Minecraft.
LP: You won’t be choosing how to allocate points to different skills but you will definitely be progressing and developing as a character in different ways.
So no crafting, no co-op, no choice, no modes, no skins, no open world, no proper skills, Story Mode can't look terribly attractive to Minecraft fans but we know exactly what it is. Telltale has worked closely with Mojang, played a lot of the game and even worked in characters to suit different types of players. Minecraft is no longer just a game. It's a way of life. If anyone can tackle this, it's Telltale but there's probably a ways to go before everyone is convinced.
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